A slot is a time during which an airplane can take off or land at a particular airport. It is a designation for planned aircraft operations, and is often used to coordinate air traffic flow at busy airports with too many flights.
In the game of football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up in the middle of the field. They are usually shorter and faster than outside receivers, but they also have an advanced skill set that allows them to do some things other wide receivers can’t.
Slot receivers are an important part of the blocking game for offenses. On passing plays, they are often the lead receivers who run routes that are designed to confuse defenders in the slot area of the field.
On running plays, they are often a big part of the blockers on sweeps and slant runs. They are able to block nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties in the middle of the field, which makes it more difficult for those defenders to make a play on the ball carrier.
Slot receivers can also be a ball carrier from time to time. They are often called into pre-snap motion by the quarterback, who either throws or quickly handoffs the ball to them. This motion gives them a head of steam behind them in the backfield, which helps them to get to the outside of the field before a defense can stop them.